Showing you’re disabled under the Equality Act

Showing you're disabled under the Equality Act

Have you ever had to prove you are disabled?

The Equality Act 2010 says you mustn’t be discriminated against because of your disability. However, there are times when we are expected to provide proof, showing you are disabled

When it comes to proving to the person who questions why you are parking in a disabled parking space then the result is clear. You don’t have to. Jamie has been questioned many times. The response depends highly on what mood he is in and what kind of a day he is having.

However, this is not the only time we are asked to prove our condition or disability. There are times when we have to offer proof for legal or official purposes. 

So in this blog we just want to cover off a few areas that will hopefully offer you some assistance. Aimed if you are faced with the issue of showing you are disabled. 

What’s meant by disability?

As laid out in the terms of the law and also in The Equality act a disability is a physical or mental condition which has a long term effect on your daily life.

We recently covered off The Nine Protected Characteristics in a blog. With that research we found that actually being disabled is not exactly a cut and dry subject.  

On looking we found a lot of information on this particular subject. Most of the detail was found on two main websites. The citizens advice website and The Equality and human Rights Commission.

How does the Equality Act define disability?

The Equality Act says a disability is a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day- to-day activities.

What are day-to-day activities?

Normal day to day activities are activities carried out by most people on a regular basis. There is a long list to consider but a few that is often mentioned are things like. 

    • Walking or driving
    • Washing and getting dressed
    • Cooking, eating
    • Communicating, this includes speaking or writing. 

Other tasks could be containing a level of concentration and understanding as well as being able to form a social relationship.

Now please take into consideration that this is a simple definition and is only a guide. There is no official list. There have been time during assessment I have been asked to carry out one or more of these tasks. I don’t always succeed.

What’s meant by substantial adverse effect?

To be considered to have a disability, your condition must have what is described as a substantial adverse effect on your daily life. Yes this means that it has to have more than a minor effect. It does not mean you are unable to do something completely. To be considered as substantial it has to be clear that it is more difficult. 

What if you have medical treatment or aids which make your condition better?

This is an area that for many will carry a very grey cloud. Especially if you are looking at a PIP application.

However, in the eyes of the equality act. If you receive medical treatment or use aids your condition will still be considered as having a substantial effect.

The use of a wheelchair or a hearing aid assists in making a condition easier to live with. It does not mean you no longer have the condition.

What if you have a condition which gets worse over time?

Dementia! Motor neurone disease! These are progressive conditions and even though they start off as a minor condition with minor effects to your daily life. They are going to get worse over time. With conditions like this it does not matter it would still be treated as a disability. 

If you have treatment for a progressive condition and that treatment makes you better. For example, cancer you would no longer be considered as disabled. But, if the condition is not completely cured and you are still effected, then you would still be considered disabled. 

What’s meant by long-term?

Long term is kind of what it says. However, there are defined situations. If the adverse effect has lasted for more than 12 months or is likely to last more than 12 months this is considered long term. Also if the condition is expected to last the rest of your life. If it would be considered that you will not live for 12 months then this would still be considered long term. 

You may develop another condition directly related to you original condition. If this lasts for more than 12 months it would be long term. Some conditions re-occur and can have flare ups and episodes. These would still be covered as long term under The Equality Act.


Hopefully the information above will offer you some guidance. We are by no means experts but with Jamie’s condition we have had to follow very similar guidelines. As for CRPS Complex Reginl Pain Syndrome. We are faced with a disability that is very misunderstood if you are also faced with this issue we would love to hear from you. How have you coped and what have you had to face. 

Please get in touch.

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The Nine Protective Characteristics

The Nine Protective Characteristics

Under the Equality Act, there are nine protected characteristics

So here it is my blog about The Equality Act and The Nine Protective Characteristics. The policy was set out with the intention of protecting our human rights. This bit I understand fully and I do get the point of having this policy in place. However, I cant help but see some significant flaws in the principle.

The Act seems to cover ever little detail and is very effective at putting each of us nicely into a little box. We was recently at an equality’s conference where disability seemed to be high on the agenda. More by fate rather than intention but that was the direction the meeting seemed to go. 

This got me thinking, if Equality means Equal then why is it so important to take so much notice of our differences? Why cant we look more at our similarities?

Let come back to that but first lets view The Nine Protective Characteristics first! I have received the information below from the official Citizens advice website. Please visit this site if you do feel that you have actually been discriminated against. there is a lot of information around this for you to look at. The Nine Protective Characteristics

9 characteristics of The Equality Act


What is meant by age? The age characteristic covers individual ages but also age groups. The term Age group means people of the same age or people in a particular age range. Here are some examples of age groups.

You’re 25 years old. You could belong to one of the following age groups:

    • 25 year olds
    • under 30s
    • over 20s
    • people in their 20’s
    • young adults.

You’re 78 years old. You could belong to one of the following age groups:

    • 78 year olds
    • over 70s
    • pensioners
    • senior citizens.



Sex applies to men and women of any age and therefore includes girls and boys. This Characteristic only covers the sex you was born with. There is a controversial conversation around this but that is covered in other characteristics.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation is when you’re sexually attracted to people of you’re own sex – when you’re gay or lesbian, people of the opposite sex – when you’re heterosexual,  people of both sexes – when you’re bisexual.

 Please note that Sexual Orientation is different to Sex and Gender Reassignment. 

sexual orientation

Gender Reassignment

Gender reassignment covers those who want to change their gender, whether they go through with the medical treatment or not. So, this covers People who has had a complete gender reassignment. Individuals who is currently undergoing medical treatment to reassign their gender. And, people who have started the medical process but then has later decided to stop it.  

This Characteristic also covers those who decide to adopt the identity of their chosen gender without undergoing a medical gender reassignment. This would then cover those who chose to dress as their chosen gender, all the time or only occasionally.

But if you cross-dress for some other reason than because you want to adopt your chosen gender- for example, as a joke or as a paid profession-  this is not considered gender reassignment.

Gender reassignment is a personal process rather than a medical one. You don’t have to undergo medical treatment and you don’t have to be under medical supervision.



With Race it is often perceived as being your colour. however, this is not completely true. It covers Colour, Nationality, Ethnic Origin and National Origin. 

Nationality means citizenship or membership of a particular nation. National origins means your connection to a country or nation through birth. It’s different from nationality although they can overlap. The English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish are all considered as nationalities.

Ethnic origins in the eyes of the law covers groups who share history and cultural traditions. These could be a language, religion or geographical origin. This also covers Gypsies and travellers.

Religion or beliefs

Religion and beliefs covers any organised religion, for example Islam, Christianity Buddhism and Hinduism. Smaller Relion sectors are also covered like Rasafarianism and Scientology. 

You are also covered by a specific denomination for example Protestant and Catholic. A religion is understood and decided by a court. They look at whether something has a clear structure and belief system in place to decide if its a religion under the terms of the law.

As part of this protective charactoristic there is an area that covers beliefs in a religions central articles of faith, for example Christianity believe that Jesus s the son of God. In Islam the belief that women should cover her head or whole body and also in the belief of creationism or intelligent design. 

A philosophical belief is non religious and includes humanism, secularism and atheism. If you strongly believe in it and it concerns an important aspect of human life and behaviour the courts have granted that the belief in man-made climate change and spiritualism are considered as philosophical beliefs.  However, Political belifs are not covered.

Marriage and civil partnership

Your legally married if your union is recognised as a marriage under UK law, even if you didnt get married in the UK. A civil partnership means a registered civil partnership covered by the act 2004. 

This does not cover Single, engaged, divorced, living with someone, widowed or if someone thinks you are married even though you are not. However if you are separated you are still covered. 


The definition of disability is set out in section 6 of the Equality Act  2010. It says you are disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment and if that impairment has a substantial and long term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day to day activities.

You have an impairment if your physical or mental abilities are reduced in some way. It could be the result of a medical condition however it does not have to me medically diagnosed.

Conditions that are not covered: hayfever, Tatoos and Piercings, a tendency to steal or set fire to things and a tendency to physically or sexually abuse others.

Pregnancy and Maternity

You are covered if you are pregnant, have a pregnancy-related illness or are on active maternity leave. However, once the maternity period is over then you would no longer be covered by this characteristic. 

Breastfeeding would not be covered here as this would be covered by sex. Other areas covered are adoption of a new born. It is not clear about fathers, nor is it clear about same sex parenting. For example a mother is covered but what if there is two females in the relationship. However if there are two males in the relationship and they adopt then would this be covered? These areas are not very clear.

Thoughts on The Equality Act.

As you can see The Nine Protective Characteristics of The equality Act is well defined but in my opinion not very clear. You can find yourself covered by several groups and and different times in your life. The idea of equality is a demonstration of equal treatment and yet to me we are placed in a segregated box.

I know that it is important to have The Nine Protective Characteristics and this policy laid out but I don’t think it is clear cut. I defiantly feel that it is open to individual impression and interpretation.  In the acts of the law these characteristics are there as a guide to prevent discrimination however it is not as simple as gaining an understanding.  If you feel that you are being subjected to any form of discrimination then there are websites you can visit but I would advise you gaining some professional assistance. 

There are also some areas that seem to be clear in one way but then not respected in others. For example Racism against Black or Asian people is very clear and is often reported about. But, in most of society  racism against whites seem to be disregarded, never reported and therefore not addressed. This same example goes for Physically apparent disabilities and invisible disabilities.  I am also very sure that could be a claim that insurance companies discriminate against age when considering a policy or the cost of a policy. 


I am a white heterosexual disabled male. I have been subjected to discrimination in the past in a work place for being male as well as for being white and without surprise for being disabled. When this happens it can be hard to deal with and have a very advers effect on your mental health. It is important that these incidences are reported and addressed and if you need more advice then please follow the links below to a few websites that may be able to offer you some assistance.

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SmartCrutchs NHS

SmartCruthes (NHS)

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We Stock the full SmartCrutch range

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SmartCrutches NHS. Why is this not a known brand? And, Why are they not readily available?

The answer to the question is simple. Cost. The reason SmartCrutches NHS is not a brand! The NHS serves and supports millions of patients everyday. They have to look at the cost of supplying a suitable service that fits the majority. 

SmartCrutches are well designed and engineered product that has the well being of the user in mind. Designed in South Africa and later exported all over the world they have created a new option to long term crutch use.

Read our review of the product.

NHS style crutches cost the NHS £17 a pair! this figure sound fairly cheap, yet the cost to the NHS every year is nearly £3 million.

So why so much?

Because it has been reported that only a fifth of all crutches, sticks and frames are ever returned, the rest are either in peoples garages, attics or unfortunately landfill. 

This is the reason why the NHS could not afford to supply its patients with a product that would cost them on average between £75 for a single ore £140 for a pair.

Its all down to cost

SmartCrutch Eldow

Most patients that are issued crutches are short term users. So why cant the NHS supply the SmartCrutch to those in greater need or long term use?

Again it comes down to cost. The NHS are forced to keep costs down. Remember these crutches are supplied by the NHS but for by the Tax payer. with constant pressure from the media as well as the health board doctors and Occupational health specialist have their hand tied.

What are the benefits to the SmartCrutch over NHS issued crutches? Simply comfort and reduction of pressure on your wrists and hands. Long term use on standard crutches can lead to conditions such as repetitive strain and tendinitis. 

With the SmartCrutch the pressure is taken through the elbow and shoulder. these are a much stronger muscle group than the wrist.  With the use of a specialised piece of equipment you could save yourself pain and discomfort in the long term.

What is Tendinitis?

Overview – from the Mayo Clinic Website.

Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon — the thick fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone. The condition causes pain and tenderness just outside a joint.

While tendinitis can occur in any of your tendons, it’s most common around your shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees and heels.

Some common names for various tendinitis problems are:

    • Tennis elbow
    • Golfer’s elbow
    • Pitcher’s shoulder
    • Swimmer’s shoulder
    • Jumper’s knee

Most cases of tendinitis can be successfully treated with rest, physical therapy and medications to reduce pain. If tendinitis is severe and leads to the rupture of a tendon, you may need surgery.



Signs and symptoms of tendinitis tend to occur at the point where a tendon attaches to a bone and typically include:

    • Pain often described as a dull ache, especially when moving the affected limb or joint
    • Tenderness
    • Mild swelling
    • Forearm platform angle adjustable from 22.5° to a 90°. So reducing a uncomfortable and un natural arm position.
    • Height adjustment: 10 positions. To make sure you are fitted correctly but also assists in posture.
    • Forearm platform foam padding – Memory Foam for long lasting comfort. Reducing the risk of repetitive strain.
    • Pressure reduced by up to six times per square centimeter (0.5kg/cm2).
    • Hourglass-shaped crutch ferrule design, maximises surface contact.

A good set of crutches for long term use is an investment that the NHS does not have the budget for so it does not look like SmartCrutches NHS will become a thing. However, as a end-user of the product Jamie first became an ambassador of the product and has shown his trust in them many times. Climbing mountains as well as long distance use, and even more so with his plan climb up Everest next year. as someone who suffers nerve pain with his condition CRPS Jamie understands fully the benefit of what something like the Smartcrutch can offer. The SmartCrutch range is currently in stock in our Shop. Please follow the link. Thank you for reading SmartCrutches NHS and hopefully it has given an insight to the product, its benefits and why it is so important to invest in your health. Unfortunately we can not rely on the NHS and its already pressured resources for. A system that is already abused and miss used.